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28th July 2018

The best of both worlds

In the third part of our trainee stories series, we meet Alanah Miles, a talented new graduate with her sights set on a sustainable future.

Hi Alanah, what do you do at Arc Partnership?

I’m a trainee architectural technologist and I’ve been with the team for about seven months now.

What were you doing before you came here?

I was at the University of Derby, getting my BSc in Architectural Technology. I graduated last year and I was looking for a job when the opportunity to join Arc came up.

I did my dissertation on health and safety in demolition, with a case study on the CLASP block at County Hall in Nottingham. It was a big Arc project and it’s where I met Richard Mills, one of our design and delivery managers. He gave my details to Stella Rousou – and she’s now my manager!

What appealed to you about joining Arc?

I loved how welcoming the team were. There was a real sense of teamwork, everyone was friendly and they had a four-year plan to get me fully trained up. As a new graduate, I was anxious about being thrown in at the deep end, but they put me completely at ease. They’re like a family.

So where do you think the four-year plan will take you?

The idea is that by then I’ll be able to do all the CAD drawings independently, work closely with clients and have a solid technical knowledge. University’s one thing, but putting it all into practice on a live site is something else completely.

Are you learning on the job, or heading back to the classroom?

Both! The team ask me to tackle things that stretch my skills, so I investigate and come back with the best answer I can, then we review it together. I love having the opportunity to figure things out, and the reassurance that they’re supporting me.

I’m studying for chartered membership of the CIAT (Charted Institute of Architectural Technologists), which means evidencing all the experience I’m getting. I’ll also be starting a master’s in sustainable architecture and healthy buildings in September, going back to university for a day a week. I like to keep busy!

How do you feel about being a student again?

Great. I really enjoyed the sustainability elements of my degree and my lecturer encouraged me to take the master’s. When someone believes you can do it, that’s so motivating. If I hadn’t joined Arc I’d probably have taken the course full time. Now I’ll be getting the best of both worlds – hands-on experience and all that brand new knowledge.

I hear you’re a bit of a Revit expert…

I don’t know about expert, but the team heard I had some Revit (building information modelling software) skills, so they put me to work on a project. I found some issues with the structural module, so I redid the whole thing in about four weeks – the mechanical, architectural, structural and interior elements. It got shown in our annual review, so that was a great confidence boost.

Have you got any big ambitions for the future?

My chartership will be a real achievement. It’s recognised all over the world. Long term, I’d love to work my way up to senior architectural technician – that would be a massive milestone.

Look out for more trainee stories here on our news page soon.

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